Coachella: Weekend One

On April 13, Coachella music festival began in the desert of Indio, California, for weekend number one.  There were plenty of groundbreaking and iconic performances, along with many celebrity cameos in the crowd.  The Weeknd was the headliner on the first night, performing right after SZA on the main stage. SZA brought out Kendrick Lamar as a special guest, and closed her set with their collaboration from “The Black Panther,” “All the Stars.”  Fans were hoping that Lamar would accompany The Weeknd  on “Pray for Me” from the the same film, however The Weeknd did not have any special guests for his hour and a half set, which is surprising considering his many recent and past musical collaborations.  The Weeknd performed songs from his new EP, “My Dear Melancholy,” and also songs from his previous album, “Starboy.”

On Saturday night, Beyonce took the stage as the headliner with a two hour show.  She began by singing her older anthems and then proceeded by inviting her husband, hip-hop artist Jay-Z, onto the stage for a preview of their tour this summer, “On The Run II.” Beyonce later brought out her ex-band members from Destiny’s Child, Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland, and they sang their early hits.  Solange additionally made an appearance during the set, as yet another guest. Beyonce set the stage, literally, as a star example for upcoming artists of Coachella and also managed to make music history for legendary performances.

The last performance of Coachella was none other than Detroit rap legend, Eminem.  He entered on the stage dressed to look like a Detroit factory worker, with the “313” Detroit area code plastered on a water tower.  There was a full band and strings set in the back, sitting along the urban themed scene. Skylar Grey made a guest appearance to accompany Eminem on “Stan” and “Love the Way You Lie.”  50 Cent also rushed the stage to sing “In Da Club,” “I Get Money” and “Patiently Waiting,” before Dr. Dre walked onto the stage to join Eminem. Dr. Dre paved the way for Marshall Mathers’ career, which made the Coachella set even more special with a producer-rapper collaboration.   

Is Eminem “Framed?”

On Monday, April 3, hip-hop and rap artist Eminem released a music video for his song “Framed,” which is the 12th track featured on his most recent album “Revival.”  “Revival,” Eminem’s ninth-studio album, was released in November and has sold over a million copies worldwide, and some of its tracks placed on the Top 20 Hits playlist in the United States.  His collaborations with Beyonce in “Walk on Water” and Ed Sheeran in “River” have brought Eminem’s album large success. This year Eminem is also confirmed to headline at several music festivals, including Coachella, Governors Ball and Bonnaroo, where he is expected to showcase his new album.

His new music video, directed by James Larese, carries a unique horror movie-esque theme, as the rapper plays an escaped asylum patient in his hometown of city of Detroit, Michigan.  The video starts with a news report that Eminem has barricaded himself in a house filled with his bloody murder victims, and has little communication with the police that are outside. The news is reported by Stan Dresden, played by WJBK-TV FOX 2 reporter Josh Landon, who appears worried and frantic. There are several scenes of the rapper with blood and knives, to add a creepy and more realistic feel to the video. Eventually, he is drawn into a confession by a police officer who uses hypnosis and throws Eminem’s character back into the psychiatric hospital. At the end of the video, the character is hypnotized once more and is given an injection in his chest.

“Framed” is similar to Eminem’s song “97 Bonnie & Clyde” on the “Slim Shady LP,” giving off strange and bizarre vibes. Both songs also are indirectly addressing someone in the media (Christie Brinkley and Ivanka Trump). One of the more unsettling lyrics is, “When murdering females, better pay attention to these details or you could be derailed.” Even though his character is giving a step-by-step guide on murder, he also declares himself innocent until the end of the video, by saying “I’m almost certain I was framed.”

Givenchy (1927-2018)

On Monday, March 12, French fashion icon Hubert de Givenchy passed away at the age of 91.  Givenchy was born on Feb. 21, 1927, in northern France, where he was raised by his mother and grandmother.  In 1944, he moved to Paris to study art at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts. After strongly considering a career in law, he decided to go into a fashion career.  At only the age of 17, he apprenticed the designer Jacques Fath, before moving on to work for famous French couture houses, such as Robert Piguet and Lucien Lelong. In 1952, Givenchy opened his own couture house and released a popular collection, that showcased long skirts and tailored shirts.  In his later work, he focused on designing fancy gowns, tailored suits and feminine hats. His last name became interchangeable with Parisian chic. By the 1960s, he was setting new trends and emphasizing certain parts of youthful fashion, like straighter figure shapes and shorter hemlines.

Givenchy is most famous for his friendship with and clothing designs for Oscar-winning actress Audrey Hepburn. He defined her cinematic style in her famous films, such as “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “How to Steal a Million.” One of his most widely-known designs is the black silhouette and pearls worn by Hepburn in one of the opening scenes of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”  Another woman who he was closely associated with was United States first lady, Jacqueline Kennedy. Kennedy often wore Givenchy gowns and showed off his collections at important events, including her visit to the Palace of Versailles in 1961 and meeting Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco.

Givenchy sold his company to Louis Vuitton Moet in 1988 and released his last solo collection in 1995.  After his retirement, he became the head designer for John Galliano, alongside Alexander McQueen and Riccardo Tisci.  His solo fashion designs began to be displayed at exhibitions around the world, from Musee Galliera in Paris to the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.  In 1996, Hubert de Givenchy received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America, after moving to a country estate in the French countryside. 

 

Feature Image by Robert Doisneau/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images.

 

A Night to Remember at the Oscars

On March 4, the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles held the 90th Academy Awards, which was hosted by late night television host Jimmy Kimmel.  Kimmel opened the Oscars ceremony with a monologue that called out several nominees, such as Jordan Peele, Timothee Chalamet and Margot Robbie.  He additionally made jokes and remarks about last year’s Oscar envelope mix-up, President Trump and Mike Pence, and about how “clueless” Hollywood is about women.  

Kimmel then proceeded to discuss the large amount of sexual harassment claims in the past year, the #MeToo and #Time’sUp movements, and how positive change is currently taking place for women and African Americans, through movies like “Wonder Woman” and “Black Panther.”

 “We can’t let bad behavior slide anymore, said Kimmel, challenging the entertainment industry. “The world is watching us.”

 After Kimmel’s monologue, a black-and-white video displayed Hollywood celebrities like Mel Gibson and Harvey Weinstein, to follow up on celebrities’ sexual harassment in the workplace.  

The stage was decorated by Derek McLane who used 45 million crystals to represent each era in the history of movie making.

The night consisted of musical performances throughout the show, from songs that were nominated themselves to songs from nominated films.

In addition to Pixar’s “Coco” winning Best Animated Feature, the film won Best Song for “Remember Me.”  The song was written by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez. Anderson-Lopez also wrote Frozen’s “Let It Go.”  The award-winning single was performed by actor Gael Garcia Bernal, R&B singer Miguel and singer Natalie LaFourcade, while being accompanied by a string of guitars and Mexican folk dancers.  

History was made when Daniela Vega, the first openly transgender woman presenter in Oscars history, introduced Sufjan Steven’s performance of “Mystery of Love” from Luca Guadagnino’s, “Call Me By Your Name.” Stevens rose from the ground at the beginning of the song, alongside St Vincent, Chris Thile and Moses Sumney.

In addition, rapper Common and Andra Day performed “Stand Up for Something” from “Marshall,” with a powerful call to action towards the end of the song. They were joined on stage by 10 activists, including Bana Alabed, Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood, civil rights activist Dolores Huerta, an eight-year-old Syrian refugee who tweeted about Aleppo, and a transgender activist.  

“This Is Me” from “The Greatest Showman” scored a performance spot at the Oscars, which was performed by actor Keala Settle and co-written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.

The winners of the Oscars follow: